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She looks past her desktop screensaver
to a better life –
Last night’s rain
clinging lumpy brown mud to her fading red gumboots,
the guilty pleasure of hearing the sludge,
squishing and squirming
at every step.
Still squinting through her sunglasses
from the glaring sun reflecting tenfold off the metal poles
that held up the shade for the Mix Up tent stage.

Music-lovers,
chasing the sound of sweet melodies and tuning guitars,
Like curious dogs
following the waft of barbecued meat.
The gathering of sweaty bodies,
Jumping in unison,
the odd accidental elbowing
or landing on someone else’s foot.
Craning her neck above the flower crowns
to watch the lead singer bound off the stage,
And lose his shoe to a crowd surf.

People ambling closer as their sound catches wind
and drifts toward strangers hundreds of metres away.
Gradually losing personal space,
but quickly gaining friends.

She didn’t care
about the zero left in her account,
or her rain-soaked duffel bag
with stale clothes inside.
She didn’t care
for her lack of sleep
or the due dates
awaiting her return.

All she cared about was
the live music,
the atmosphere,
the exotic food,
this carefree music festival
that was the most convenient getaway
from her so-called ‘life’.
She didn’t know until then
that that was not her life.

This, here –
This is living.

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